Sunday, April 21, 2024

Top 5 This Week

TT Superbike and Superstock seeds announced.

With under 2 months until the first machines blast away towards the heart rate raising plunge down Bray Hill, the seeded riders for the large capacity classes have been announced. The “bird scarer” leading the field away at number 1, just as he did in 2018, will be David Johnson on the C&L Fairburn Properties by Jackson Racing Honda, with the Australian getting his first TT action since 2019 after injury forced him out of last year’s event. He did return to the circuit for the Classic Superbike race at the MGP and took third behind rob Hodson and Nathan Harrison.

Next away will be 2019 Senior TT winner Dean Harrison, who continues in his familiar starting position onboard the DAO Racing Kawasaki ZX-10RR. We can expect Dean to be at the sharp end in all of his races. He starts ten seconds ahead of 23-times winner John McGuinness who assumes the number 3 spot once more for Honda Racing UK, after having the number 1 plate for his 100th TT start twelve months ago.

At number 4 is Jamie Coward, who has been rewarded with a big step up the order after four top-six finishes and an impressive showing at TT 2022; including setting the fastest ever lap by a Yamaha. Coward will ride a new Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade for the same KTS Racing team, switching from Yamaha.

James Hillier goes off at his regular spot riding with number 5 for OMG Racing Yamaha, whilst Michael Dunlop will once again start at number 6. Continuing with Hawk Racing for another year, Dunlop is another rider to switch to Honda for the new season, the first time he has campaigned a Fireblade since 2013. A fully fit Michael, on a properly prepared machine, will be a match for anyone.

The returning Josh Brookes will get his race week underway from number 7 on the FHO Racing BMW M 1000 RR. In 2018 Josh set the best ever lap by a Norton at 131.745mph. Once the rust has been chipped off; he will be looking to beat that speed and challenge for the top 6 at least. Davey Todd had a scare last year with a tyre delamination in the Superbike Race; but overcame that later in the week to take a maiden TT podium finish. He followed that up by dominating the Southern 100 and winning the BSB Superstock Championship. Davey will start at number 8 for the Milenco by Padgett’s Motorcycles Honda team that he chose to stay with in order that he could ride his favourite road events such as Armoy. The Padgett’s bikes will be as good as any in the field; we expect Davey to be “on the box” again this year.

Lee Johnston moves up the order from his familiar number 13, to number 9, on the Ashcourt Racing Honda. The smaller; lighter and more nimble, new Fireblade will suit him, and he could take another big bike podium finish. Ten seconds behind him will be the outright lap record holder, Peter Hickman, who takes his customary number 10 position for another year. Riding the FHO Racing BMW M 1000 RR once more, Hickman is expected to run in different livery to the usual black and green. No matter what the livery, Peter is the man with the target on his back and favourite to win in most eyes.

The second Milenco by Padgett’s Honda of Conor Cummins will again be aiming to reel in Hickman from his starting position of number 11. Conor rode superbly last year whilst still recovering from major injuries suffered in February. He has the distinction of being the fastest rider ever on a Honda, at 133.116mph. Just behind him is Bathams Racing’s Michael Rutter, who drops outside the top ten, but is still a force to be reckoned with. He will bring to us his beautiful and very noisy, V4 MotoGP-derived Honda RC213V-S.

With Lee Johnston moving up four spots, the number 13 plate has been taken by Dominic Herbertson on the Belgrave Motors Racing BMW M 1000 RR and he’ll be closely followed down Glencrutchery Road by Phillip Crowe at 14. Both will be hoping to break into the 130mph club this year.

Behind them, two of last year’s sensations, Nathan Harrison (Honda Racing UK) and Mike Browne (Burrows Engineering/RK Racing) are deservedly elevated up into the seeded numbers for the first time at 15 and 16 respectively. They began their Mountain Course careers in the 2018 Newcomers MGP; both led briefly before being force to retire. Last year both excelled in the Classic MGP; Browne set the fastest ever lap by a 500cc single, and Harrison set the fastest lap in Superbike Classic. Both will be looking to at least break into the top 10 and their continuing progress will be eagerly watched.

Two-time winner Gary Johnson had a below par year on the Island in 2022 and subsequently drops down the order to number 17, but he is a proven 130mph lapper; so, given a fair wind can still be a top 6 finisher. The high-quality top twenty is completed by Shaun Anderson (Team Classic Suzuki), Sam West (PRL/Moto Hub) and Rutter’s team-mate Craig Neve (Bathams Racing).

This year’s official programme will be available to buy online; as well as in-store on the Isle of Man; from the end of April and is set to be bursting with all the exclusive features, insights and race information you need for the complete TT experience.

The complete top 20 for the RST Superbike, RL360 Superstock, and Milwaukee Senior TT Races is:

  1. David Johnson – C&L Fairburn Properties by Jackson Racing | Honda
  2. Dean Harrison – DAO Racing | Kawasaki
  3. John McGuinness – Honda Racing UK | Honda
  4. Jamie Coward – KTS Racing powered by Steadplan | Honda
  5. James Hillier – OMG Racing | Yamaha
  6. Michael Dunlop – Hawk Racing | Honda
  7. Josh Brookes – FHO Racing | BMW
  8. Davey Todd – Milenco by Padgett’s Motorcycles | Honda
  9. Lee Johnston – Ashcourt Racing | Honda
  10. Peter Hickman – FHO Racing | BMW
  11. Conor Cummins – Milenco by Padgett’s Motorcycles | Honda
  12. Michael Rutter – Bathams Racing | Honda
  13. Dominic Herbertson –  APERO | BMW
  14. Philip Crowe – Nigel Appleyard / Agri Wash | BMW
  15. Nathan Harrison – Honda Racing UK | Honda
  16. Mike Browne – Burrows Engineering / RK Racing | BMW
  17. Gary Johnson – Smith’s Motors / JR Performance | Honda
  18. Shaun Anderson – Team Classic Suzuki | Suzuki
  19. Sam West – Street Diner Racing | BMW
  20. Craig Neve – Bathams Racing | Honda

The notable absentee is 16 times winner Ian Hutchinson who suffered a stroke whilst cycling in Spain. Thankfully, he is recovering well from this; but the protocol is for licence holders to be suspended for one year.  We wish him a full recovery and look forward to seeing him on the island in his ambassador role for the TAS team.

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